Lesego Motsepe restarted ARVs in 2012 – doctor

2014-01-23 18:33

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Actress Lesego Motsepe resumed her ARV treatment in 2012, her doctor, Marlin McKay, revealed at a memorial service hosted by the SABC in Auckland Park, Joburg.

This came as a shock to some of the mourners today as Motsepe had publicly denounced the use of antiretrovirals – once telling The Times there is “a need for a holistic approach to tackling the pandemic as opposed to a hopeless approach with drugs being seen as a do or die solution”.

McKay said he first heard of Motsepe’s story in 2012 after her appearance on the SABC 3 talk show 3Talk. On the show, she said was weaning herself off ARVs and was looking at a more holistic approach to treating her illness.

“I admired her courage to publicly announce her status, but I was disappointed about her decision not to use medication,” he said.

McKay contacted Motsepe shortly after the announcement and advised her to get back on ARVs. The two argued at length about the benefits of the medication. “After many discussions she made the decision to restart treatment. 2012 was a good year for her,” but 2013 was a challenging year for their professional relationship.

“I didn’t see Lesego but I did keep in touch with her to check if she was well. It was with great shock and sadness that I learned of her passing. Gone to soon,” he said.

Spokesperson for the Motsepe’s family Lorato Tshenkeng also confirmed that Motsepe went back on medication in 2012 but could not say whether Motsepe was on ARVs at the time of her death.

He said the results of an autopsy, revealing the cause and time of her death, would be given to the family later today.

Motsepe, who rose to fame after playing Letti Matabane on popular SABC3 soapie Isidingo, angered many HIV activists when she decided to discontinue antiretroviral treatment.

Darlington Michaels (Georgie), who worked with Motsepe on Isidingo, said: “She was still young and she was so talented and we [had high hopes for her]. She was a great actress, singer and poet.”

He advised people who were HIV positive to stick to ARVs. “I think it is advisable that once you find out that you are positive, you get medication and stay with it,” he said.

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